Coeur d’Alene School Board postpones meeting on possible mask mandate as protesters gather

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho — The Coeur d’Alene School District Board postponed a special meeting intended to discuss the possibility of bringing back a mask mandate as protesters gathered. 

The board postponed the Friday meeting just minutes before it was intended to take place. They said there were too many people were present and they wanted them to be safe.

The district also said they had reports of fights outside of the district building and wanted the meeting to be controlled.

The board planned to discuss a possible mask mandate as a result of the rising COVID cases and hospitalizations in North Idaho.

As of Friday morning, 114 people were being treated for COVID at Kootenai Health; 43 of those people were in critical care. 

READ: More students test positive for COVID as transmission remains high in community

A group of pediatricians from North Idaho met on Wednesday to voice their concerns over the lack of precautions taken to protect children from COVID. Idaho has among the lowest vaccination rates in the country and without any mask mandate in place, more children are coming down with the virus. 

Those doctors urged the importance of having children in school but said mask mandates should be in place. 

Despite their guidance, Coeur d’Alene parents have been vocal in their opposition to a mask mandate.

Coeur d’Alene schools have only been back in session for a few weeks, but have seen a number of students test positive or need to quarantine. On Thursday, the district said 405 students were quarantined because they had COVID or had been exposed. Forty staff members were also quarantining. 

PREVIOUS: Coeur d’Alene Schools eliminated mask mandate in the classroom

Over the summer, the district dropped most of its COVID protocols, including contract tracing. A mask mandate was in place for most of the 2020-21 school year, but the board rescinded that mandate in April.